How a Low-Calorie Diet May Slow Aging
Previous research suggests that a lifelong low-calorie diet can boost longevity, but a new mouse study demonstrates, for the first time, how restricting calories may affect circadian rhythm and, in turn, the aging process. The study was conducted by researchers at the Center for Epigenetics & Metabolism at the University of California, Irvine, and the results were published in Cell.
According to the researchers, our circadian rhythm, or biological clock, changes as a result of aging, and these changes are based in part on the metabolism of energy within our cells. In a study involving 6-monthold and 18-month-old mice, the researchers determined that older cells process energy less efficiently than younger cells. But when a group of older mice were fed a diet with 30 percent fewer calories for a period of six months, the energy process was rejuvenated – promoting healthy aging.
A companion study from the Barcelona Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Spain tested body clock function in stem cells collected from older and younger mice. This study confirmed that a low-calorie diet helps protect circadian rhythm function.